Organic molecules on Mars

UK Centre for Astrobiology seminar

Organic molecules on Mars

  • Event time: 1:30pm until 3:00pm
  • Event date: 7th March 2017
  • Speaker: Dr. Inge Loes ten Kate (Utrecht University)
  • Location: Room 4325B,

Event details

Upcoming and future missions will look for organics on Mars as possible biomarkers for evolution of life. Ongoing investigations at Mars on board the Curiosity rover have led to the first detection of Martian organics in the Cumberland samples as well as hinted towards the presence of organic compounds in several other analyzed soil samples. Even though these results are at least partly skewed by the presence of organic contaminants and Mars-indigenous calcium perchlorates, the Martian origin is no longer doubted. Organics on Mars can be binned into two categories: indigenously produced and exogenously delivered.

In this presentation I will focus on exogenously delivered organics and the different alteration processes at work on the Martian surface. These processes include degradation by ultraviolet radiation and oxidation through different pathways . I will give an overview of the type of organics that are delivered, as well as an indication of the organics that can be anticipated after alteration. I will conclude by briefly addressing the broader context of scientific questions about organics on Mars and the Early Earth.

The astrobiology seminar series is run by the UK Centre for Astrobiology based in the School of Physics & Astronomy. Astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary subject and the seminar series actively encourages attendance by undergraduates, postgraduates and academic staff from other departments..

Find out more about UK Centre for Astrobiology seminars.